OPIC backs Middle East growth fund

18 August 1995

US, European and Middle East investors are being invited to support a regional fund which plans to raise up to $250 million to boost the private sector. The US' Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a profit making US government agency, is backing the Middle East/North Africa Regional Growth Fund with guarantees worth $125 million, but the funds will be managed privately (MEED 12:5:95, Regional).

The manager is the New York-based Sigler, Guff & Company, a new partnership being set up by Mitchell Hutchins, a subsidiary of the US' Paine Webber group. The manager will have local advisers in each of the five areas being targeted, including First Cairo Financial in Egypt, Casablanca Finance Group in Morocco and Tunisie Leasing Group in Tunisia. Local advisers for Jordan, Gaza and the West Bank have yet to be appointed.

Of the $250 million, $50 million will be co-managed by Illinois-based Dearborn Financial to target investments in the West Bank, Gaza and Jordan.

Investments will mainly be in the form of direct equity participation in companies that have business relationships with US firms or which use US products, technology or services. The fund will cover a broad range of sectors including consumer goods, technology, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications and financial services.

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